Hollywood Elite Are Starting to Boycott the Oscar's Lack of Diversity...Again

January 18th 2016

Alex Mierjeski

At least two prominent Black Hollywood players said they would not be attending the 88th Academy Awards show because the nominees, which were announced last week, are predominantly white.

Actress Jada Pinkett Smith and director Spike Lee made the announcements via social media channels. Lee posted on Instagram on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. day, while Pinkett Smith released a video over the weekend. Both lambasted the lack of diversity in this year's nominee pool: For a second year in a row, all 20 actors in the best acting category are white.

Related: The Oscar Nominations Just Came Out And There's One Obvious Problem

"#OscarsSoWhite...Again," a post on Spike Lee's Instagram account accompanying a photo of a young Dr. King read.


#OscarsSoWhite... Again. I Would Like To Thank President Cheryl Boone Isaacs And The Board Of Governors Of The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences For Awarding Me an Honorary Oscar This Past November. I Am Most Appreciative. However My Wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee And I Will Not Be Attending The Oscar Ceremony This Coming February. We Cannot Support It And Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy. But, How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White? And Let's Not Even Get Into The Other Branches. 40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can't Act?! WTF!! It's No Coincidence I'm Writing This As We Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday. Dr. King Said "There Comes A Time When One Must Take A Position That Is Neither Safe, Nor Politic, Nor Popular But He Must Take It Because Conscience Tells Him It's Right". For Too Many Years When The Oscars Nominations Are Revealed, My Office Phone Rings Off The Hook With The Media Asking Me My Opinion About The Lack Of African-Americans And This Year Was No Different. For Once, (Maybe) I Would Like The Media To Ask All The White Nominees And Studio Heads How They Feel About Another All White Ballot. If Someone Has Addressed This And I Missed It Then I Stand Mistaken. As I See It, The Academy Awards Is Not Where The "Real" Battle Is. It's In The Executive Office Of The Hollywood Studios And TV And Cable Networks. This Is Where The Gate Keepers Decide What Gets Made And What Gets Jettisoned To "Turnaround" Or Scrap Heap. This Is What's Important. The Gate Keepers. Those With "The Green Light" Vote. As The Great Actor Leslie Odom Jr. Sings And Dances In The Game Changing Broadway Musical HAMILTON, "I WANNA BE IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS". People, The Truth Is We Ain't In Those Rooms And Until Minorities Are, The Oscar Nominees Will Remain Lilly White. (Cont'd)

A photo posted by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on

"How is is possible for the 2nd consecutive year all 20 contenders under the actor category are white?" the post read. "And let's not even get into the other branches. 40 white actors in 2 years and no flava at all. We can't act?! WTF!! It's no coincidence I'm writing this we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's birthday."


Lee's post noted that the issue at stake was not about the Academy Awards themselves, but rather with Black representation in "gate keeper" executive positions in Hollywood and TV networks.

"This is what's important," Lee's post continued. "The gate keepers. Those with "the green light" vote... The truth is we ain't in those rooms and until minorities are, the Oscar nominees will remain Lilly white."


Pinkett Smith took to Facebook with a video that's been viewed over 4 million times at the time of writing, explaining that she would not attend the ceremony as a protest. Her husband Will Smith was considered a contender for his role in "Concussion" but was not nominated.

The actress also suggested that the Black Hollywood community might do well to focus its efforts on creating its own art — not begging for acknowledgement in the "so-called mainstream."

We must stand in our power!

We must stand in our power.

Posted by Jada Pinkett Smith on Monday, January 18, 2016

"Maybe its time we pull back our resources and we put them back into our communities, into our programs, and we make programs for ourselves that acknowledge us in ways that we see fit, that are just as good as the so-called mainstream," Pinkett Smith says in the video.

"We are a dignified people and we are powerful — let's not forget it," Pinkett Smith continues. "So let's let the Academy do them with all grace and love, and let's do us differently."

Also: 8 Powerful MLK Quotes That Aren't as Famous As "I Have a Dream..."

Following the release of the 2016 Oscar nominees, people took to social media using the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite to call out the lack of diversity in the pool.